0320 GMT February 25, 2018
Donald Trump’s recognition of Al-Quds as Israel’s capital has once again brought the Palestinian city and its importance into the spotlight and given rise to a number of questions concerning the consequences of his decision.
To further discuss this issue, a number of points are required to be addressed:
First, it is of utmost importance to bear in mind that Palestine is an entirely occupied country. Therefore, it is required to be known that the same thing holds true for Ramla, Nazareth, Acre, Haifa or Jaffa as it does for the beloved Al-Quds. Likewise, these cities are counterparts of Al-Khalil (Hebron), Nablus and Negev. Thus Palestine has completely been occupied and the occupiers are required to be ousted.
Secondly, the adjective ‘Holy’ is among the terms and expressions used by political leaders when mentioning Al-Quds. This, per se, forms the idea in mind that Palestine’s issue is entirely about having access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and respecting the Islamic sanctities.
Having access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is not Palestinians’ sole problem, otherwise, the US and Israel were willing to provide access to the mosque by creating pathways leading to it in every corner of Palestine. The proposal put forth by the Zionist regime to select Abu Dis village as the new Palestinian capital was aimed at providing access to the holy mosque.
Thus, primarily, it is required to be clarified that the entire city of Al-Quds is the main issue of concern and not the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Thirdly, it should be explained what is meant by Al-Quds? Is it the western one or the eastern? Hence, the geographical boundaries of the city have to be determined.
Statistically, Al-Quds has been occupied in two stages: The western part was seized in 1948, while, the eastern region was occupied in 1967.
During 1948-1967, the area belonging to the western part of the city was expanded from 16.3 square kilometers to 38.1 square kilometers. In addition, Israel expelled 60,000 Palestinians from the region and replaced them with 154,000 Jews during 1948-1951. The number of the Jews living in the western part of the city increased to 197,000 by 1967. During the period between 1948 and 1967, the Zionist regime constructed 50 residential townships in this region. In the years following 1967, the area of Al-Quds was extended to 104 square kilometers which was the outcome of seizing and plundering lands in 28 Palestinian villages mostly in the eastern parts of Al-Quds.
During 70s, 80s and 90s, the Al-Quds area was expanded to 126 square kilometers of which 72 square kilometers was located in the eastern part of the city.
The Zionist regime is spending billions of dollars on developing Al-Quds and changing its Islamic appearance. In 2009, the regime allocated $1 billion to expand the city. Every year, Jewish capital owners, a large number of whom live in the US, Canada and Germany, spend up to $40 million to develop the Palestinian capital.
The Zionists have devoured everything.
Fourthly, according to the international laws and regulations, such as the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and the articles 49 and 35 of its Chapter 3, any interference or seizure by the occupiers in occupied land is nullified and illegal.
Therefore, any move by Israel aimed at damaging or evacuating the residents from the seized regions or threatening the citizens’ lives and possessions is illegal. The regime is an occupying entity whose every move in Al-Quds, since 1948, has been illegal and unaccepted.
The question is whether anyone can put an end to these acts. Are international communities and their legal mechanisms capable of questioning or criticizing the cruel regime and its moves?
The fifth point to be discussed here pertains to Trump’s inauspicious decision which astoundingly could surprise a number of elites in the region, who blamed the US government over the issue.
Trump has undoubtedly made an unconventional and unusual move which fails to be within the conventional diplomatic framework. In fact, this move was a bullying act which will definitely break the international taboo about Al-Quds. Nevertheless, it must be borne in mind that the decision-making centers in the US which sought to put an end to the issue of Palestine and shift the responsibility for making the move on Trump’s shoulders and his adventuristic character, all favored the decision.
Following the signing of Taba Agreement in Washington in 1995, the US Congress declared Al-Quds, the area including both the western and eastern parts of the city, the capital of the Zionist regime. In June, 2000, the then US president, Bill Clinton, disguising it as an effort to reaffirm his commitment to resolving the Israeli-Arab dispute, delivered a speech addressing the world to present a new theory suggesting that if the sides in a conflict managed to reach an agreement and settle their dispute without seeking a legal reference or authority to mediate, “we should not disagree about this solution”.
Eventually, efforts and intense pressure by the US to this end failed to produce favorable results as the late former leader of Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Arafat, refrained from surrendering Al-Quds. So far as Obama is concerned, it can be said that he was exceptional in the history of the US in providing all-out support for the Zionist regime. Throughout his term in office as the US president, Obama kept supporting Israel’s plots against Palestine. During Obama’s tenure, Palestine’s issue became extremely complicated. Following Obama, it was Trump’s turn to reiterate his predecessors’ remarks about the issue in his stump speeches during his presidential campaign. Having seen the Muslim and Arab world weakened due to separationist moves and sectarian strife, this American businessman realized that the ground is prepared for him to embark on a trade adventure in the region which was definitely worthy of taking the risk as he had carefully observed the trend of normalizing ties with the Zionist regime had already begun, led and followed by some Arab figures.
International communities and organizations have all failed to make a decision about the US. Likewise, the United Nations General Assembly has not been able to persuade any of its members to become committed to implementing any of its resolutions.
Nevertheless, important political and diplomatic moves have been made by a number of Arab and Muslim countries such as Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan which deserve appreciation.
Trump’s ascension to power and his recent decision as well as moves by some Arab states aimed at normalization of relations with Israel have encouraged Netanyahu and the occupying regime to perpetrate more murders and crimes in Palestine and make a larger number of unlawful political decisions, overlooking all international rules and norms. The number of Palestinians killed or injured by Israeli forces in 2017 stood at 8,394 as the figure was 3,364 in its preceding year.
In addition, Trump’s decision has prepared the diplomatic ground for the Zionist regime to build more townships.
Those who want to, once again, see Palestine a free and unoccupied nation are advised to withdraw from the talks or security and political cooperation with the Zionist regime, refrain from recognizing Israel as a state and support the Middle Eastern country in its resistance against the regime.
The resistance forces and the Palestinians are also required to continue their resistance against Israel and maintain their unity in the face of the regime’s aggressions and occupation.
The history will neither sink those, either Arab or non-Arab, who have stabbed Palestinians in the back by attempting to normalize ties with the Zionist regime to oblivion nor forgive them. The mass murder of the innocent people of Palestine must stop.
* Khaled Qadoumi is the representative of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas in Tehran.